Friday, September 30, 2011

Peggy Noonan and Narratives

Peggy Noonan recently got back to LiberalLand after attending a symposium in Colorado and she was struck by the ubiquity of The Narrative.
The Narrative has nothing to do with what is actually happening in the country. That would make too much sense. The Narrative is the story of a candidate or a candidacy, or the story of a presidency. Everyone in politics is supposed to have one. They're supposedly powerful. Voters believe them.
No, no, no, writes Peggy. You can't impose a narrative from above; it bubbles up from below.

Sorry, Peggy.   You are talking rubbish.  The Narrative is everything in politics.  Every leader must learn to tell the story of America so far, and the story of America as it is meant to be.  Ronald Reagan was the master of The Narrative, shamelessly appropriating the notion of the city on a hill and the last best hope of mankind on earth for all those who must have freedom.  Get the story right, and you've got the election almost sewn up.

But once you get elected then you better make sure that your narrative meshes with reality.

The Democrats have got completely tangled up in their narrative, and none more so than President Obama.  Their problem is that they are spinning stories for tactical moves, trying to move the public opinion needle, changing the story every time they speak to a different audience

The whole point of a narrative is to make sense of the world as it is, and as it ought to be.  The Democrats' problem is that their Grand Narrative, from Keynes to diversity to evil Bushism is failing.  It is failing because it does not explain how the world works.  It only shows that the Democrats don't know how the world works.

There is nothing catastrophic about this.  Narratives fail all the time.  Democrats love to talk about the failure of the Creationist narrative at the hands of Charles Darwin.  And talk and talk about it.  They talk so much that they don't notice that their own narrative is failing at the hands of a conservative future.

Peggy explains the Democratic obsession with narrative from their misreading of the Reagan era.  They thought Reagan's ideas were rubbish, and that he fooled the American people with a good story about Morning in America.  OK, they could play that game too.

But the Democrats decided Reagan was rubbish because they had to.  They had to believe that in order to keep on believing in their big-government narrative.  Reagan showed them that their economic and social ideas were all washed up.  They couldn't bring themselves to admit it.

But now the Democrats are about to pay for their delusion, big time, in the court of public opinion and election results.

Every human lives by narrative.  But the smart ones know when the old narrative is washed up and it's time to find a new one.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Liberals Always Go Too Far

Karl Rove thinks that President Obama will have his work cut out for him next year.  It's not going to be easy to pivot from base-pleasing class warfare to principled moderate and uniter.  Particularly as Obama is badly down with the voters that got him elected in 2008: young voters, Hispanics, and women.

In fact, says Jonah Goldberg, Obama has done the one thing he must not do.  He has awakened the sleeping bear of America's innate conservatism. "If you make no sudden moves and talk quietly, you can get a lot done. But if you wake the bear, as Democrats did in the late 1960s and early '70s, the ursine silent majority will punish you."  Of course, you could argue, Democrats still got Medicare and Medicaid passed back then, so it was worth it.

Anyway, that was then and this is now.  Peter Ferrara thinks that we are looking at a wipeout for the Democrats next year.  With the loss of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, the blowout mid-term elections, and now the loss of an historically Democratic seat in New York City, things are trending worse for Democrats than in the Carter presidency.

Let us be clear.  The Obamaification of the Democratic Party is not just Obama.  The whole Democratic Party wants to be the party that Obama has made it.  It wants ObamaCare, wants swingeing regulation of everything from banks to light-bulbs, wants "green" energy, wants bigger government.

Back to the sleeping bear.  It woke up the moment that Obama was elected and it hasn't slept a wink since then.  But what does the awakened bear want?  John Agresto has an answer.
[T]he fairest nation on earth will be the one that prattles least about “social justice”; that the most neighborly will be the one that least tries to enforce artificial community; and the most compassionate will be the one that most cultivates the qualities of freedom in the souls of its citizens.
The tragedy of the educated class is that it couldn't be satisfied with persuasion, to educate the American people to its modernist religion of equality and peace and justice.  It decided that it had to have power as well, to force the bitter clingers to do the right thing.  But the combination of religion and politics has never gone well in the modern era.

In America, of course, the combination of church and state is actually illegal.  But the educated class attempt to combine its secular religion with the powers of government is obviously worse that a crime.  It's a blunder.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rush! Make the Complex Understandable!

Yesterday a listener called Rush Limbaugh and riffed on the Elizabeth Warren flap.  The hypothetical business owner she cited, benefiting from the taxes and police and fire and roads, wasn't just benefiting from the government.  He was benefiting from the labor of the workers he hired.  Said Jeff the caller:
He didn't get rich because he dug more ditches than anyone else. He got rich and most people in the country get rich because they've got other people working for them, which means they're selling the labor of these other people for more than they're paying for it. They're paying a guy $8 to dig a ditch, and they're charging somebody else $20 for that ditch. Abraham Lincoln said that "before there's capital there's labor, and all capital comes from work that real human beings do."
This line, Rush was quick to tell his listeners, comes from the Daily Kos, in a January 29, 2009 article, "Abe Lincoln: Pro Labor. Send THIS to your R friends.", boosting the famous stimulus of that winter.  The "THIS" in question is an image and a quote from President Lincoln, here, made in his first message to Congress in 1861:
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
Rush responded, in due course, that this goes back to the idea that labor is paid less than it is worth.
This guy believes (I'll use myself here as an example) that I am getting rich -- and I'm not admitting that, by the way -- by paying the people who work for me less than what they are worth (not what they deserve, less than what they're worth) and getting rich off of it. Therefore, I am screwing the people who work for me.
Of course, the idea that it is scandalous that a contractor bills his client $20 for a employee that costs him $8 comes from Marx.  To justify the intervention of politics into the relation between worker and employer, Marx needs to find an injustice.  He finds it in the fact that the worker does not obtain the full value of his labor.  The employer gets more than he does by appropriating the surplus value of the worker's product over and above the value of the wages paid to the worker.

Help us out here Rush!  Let's come up with a rejoinder to these lefties and Marxists!  Let's make the complex understandable!

Here's my take.  It is true that "labor is prior to capital."  Of course it is.  That is why the capitalist must pay the  the worker his wages before he pays the bank. Before he pays his taxes. Before he gets paid by his client. Before he pays the bond-holders.  And before the chaps that come last of all, the shareholders, the risk-takers.  That is the principle of capitalism; it agrees with Abraham Lincoln.  The worker gets paid first.  The stockholders, accepting the risk proposition, come last; they live off the remainder left after all other stakeholders have been paid.  They make profits, or they suffer losses.

The welfare state is different.  In the welfare state the non-workers, from Social Security recipients to Medicare beneficiaries to welfare recipients to politicians to government workers, they all get paid first. And if there is enough money left over after all this government beneficiaries have been paid, then the workers can get paid.

In socialism, things are different.  There the workers do not come first.  They do not come last.  In socialism, the only thing that matters is the state.  So the workers do not really exist.  That is why they often just starve.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan

On the face of it, Heman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan to reorganize federal finances on a three-legged stool, with 9 percent personal income tax, 9 percent corporate income tax, and 9 percent national sales tax sounds like a winner.  Remove all the complicated exemptions and deductions and let's get real!

But the obvious question is: who benefits?  On the face of it, the rich.  Surely they will benefit if high income tax rates and corporate income tax rates come down.

But the 9-9-9 plan also replaces the FICA tax on wages.  Right now (forgetting the temporary cut in FICA) the total FICA bite is 15.3 percent.  So a moderate income worker is going to get a cut on that (assuming that the worker gets the employer share of FICA).

The 9 percent sales tax will obviously hit the poor hardest.  Sales and excise taxes on consumer goods have always been understood to hurt the poor.  But maybe the poor will suffer more from elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can be $2,000 per family per year.

The wild card is the corporate income tax.  If you eliminate FICA and reduce and simplify the corporate income tax it is going to have a substantial effect on corporations.  That will raise stock prices, but it will also enable employers to bid more for employees.  What really is the net effect for ordinary people when you lower corporate taxes?

The problem with a huge change like the 9-9-9 plan is that a ton of people are going to get a windfall gain and a ton of people are going to get a windfall loss.  The people experiencing a windfall loss are going to be really upset.

Herman Cain may find that out the hard way in the months ahead.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The New Praetorian Guard

Every schoolboy knows that, as the Roman Empire aged, its emperors declined from being Augustan gods to being shuffled in and out by the elite imperial guards, the Praetorian Guard.

Maybe Julius Caesar started the rot when he violated Roman law by bringing his army in Gaul across the Rubicon river and marched it into Rome.

As the welfare state careers towards disaster we are seeing the emergence of a new Praetorian Guard.  It is the organized mobs of government workers outraged that their over-market wages and over-market pensions are being cut.  You do not see dangerous mobs of ordinary citizens in the streets, unless you consider the peaceable and good-natured Tea Party a mob.  You see the civil servants in the streets.  No doubt the events in Madison, Wisconsin, of last winter will be repeated elsewhere as noble teachers and professors demonstrate their outrage now that their life-time employment and pension deal turns out to be less than gold-plated.

You could have seen it coming.  The politicians enrolled these supporters into powerful special interests to help them with their reelection.  And now their supporters are demanding that the checks keep coming.

In a perfect world, I'd say to hell with this ungrateful recipients of government loot.  For make no mistake, every dollar poured into the pocket of a government worker or a government benefit recipient has been obtained by force.

But reality is not as simple as that.

Our liberal friends have built their supporters up into a formidable political force.  That was the easy part.  The hard part is going to be persuading these lottery winners that you don't get to win the lottery every day of the year.  The tricky thing is going to be getting these folks to retreat without burning the place down as they leave.

Some politician is going to figure out how to do this, and I suspect that the key is understanding that most government employees--nurses, teachers, social workers--are women.  Let's face it, women in government, unionized as they are, aren't like the miners and the railroad workers and the auto workers that defined the union movement.  Women just don't do rioting in the streets.

Still, a grand betrayal of all the progressive promises is heading right down the tracks.  It is essential that the blame is put right where it belongs, on the liberals that promised that government could conjure up wonders.

What a crock.  Government is force.  If you want to do something practical, something productive and compassionate, perhaps, then you don't get government involved.  You rely on the cooperative nature of the social animal we call homo sapiens.

Meanwhile we've got the new Praetorian Guard trying to scare us into coughing up more money, and it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Patronizing Dr. Warren

Liberals were famously irritated in the 2000s by the Texas swagger of George W. Bush.  You can understand why.  Elimination of the male macho personality type is precisely what liberalism is all about.  It is male aggression that brought us all those wars, not to mention domestic violence and gay bashing.

Judging by the response to Elizabeth Warren's riff about the wonders of government, it is clear that she represents an equivalent hot button for conservatives.

It is exactly the patronizing professorial attitude so common in liberals like Dr. Warren that drives conservatives to donate thousands of dollars to their favorite conservative candidates.

In fact you could say that both President Obama and Dr. Warren are poster boys for a particular type of liberal, the Pauline Kael type that couldn't understand why Nixon won the 1972 election, because she didn't know anyone who voted for him.  They live so completely in a liberal enclave that they never articulate in their speech the least notion that anyone thinks differently or needs persuading to the glory of liberal thought.

The beauty of Warren's comment that "nobody in this country that gets rich on his own" is its gloriously reactionary atavism.  She makes the common liberal mistake of conflating society and government.  To get rich, she patronizingly says, requires roads, educated workers, police, fire, and the armed forces. No kidding!

Then the pull quote:
But part of the underlying social contract is that you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid that comes along.
 Quite right.  As the Dalai Lama puts it, we need karuna, a directed altruism of action, issuing from a personal commitment to compassionate action.  Obviously that issues from a personal commitment in the individual.

The mistake liberals make that they assume that their compassion, directed into government programs, is the same thing, or the closest thing to real, personal compassion.

But we conservatives know that the liberal notion of government compassion is an atavistic holdover from the old days when society and government were not yet differentiated. In the ancestral village, government is not yet a bureaucracy.  Government is the gathering of the elders, carrying the opinion of the whole community.  When the community does something it is truly "we."

But in the modern era we have differentiated the spheres of human socialization.  We have government as the department of force.  It says you must.  We have the market economy as the department of stuff.  It says we could.  We have various religions, secular and transcendent, in the department of meaning.  It says we should.  We have decided that we need a separation of powers in society to avoid dangerous concentrations of power.

This is not hard.  In the modern era when you combine the economy and government you get crony capitalism, as in crony Solyndra, crony LightSquared, and crony Goldman Sachs.  When you combine religion and government you get totalitarianism, as in Hitler, Mao, Castro.  When you combine religion and capitalism you get liberals bossing business around.

The great problem of the current age is that liberals refuse to understand that their model of expert-led bureaucracy is flushing society down the toilet.  Modern society is much bigger than that; there just aren't enough experts to supervise, and there is no way they could know enough to supervise.  Modern society is a dense network of social cooperation in which millions of individuals contribute their knowledge and their skills to the whole.

For conservatives, we must resist the temptation to put businessmen on a pedestal.  For liberals, they must resist the temptation to put government on a pedestal.

The whole point of modern society is that it is not one big thing that makes it go.  It is everything working in concert that makes it go.  And until our liberal friends accept that, this country is in for a long nightmare of failure and conflict.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Obama Not Good On Economics

Now that the dam has broken on the Obama White House, we are getting our first real look at the man and his ideas--without the PR. Says The Money Illusion blogger:
It seems increasingly clear that Obama doesn’t have a good understanding of economics.  He approaches issues like a very bright non-economist using his common sense.
This is not good.  Because the whole point of economics and, for that matter, physics since Newton is that common sense doesn't do it on economics.  It would seem, from common sense, that productivity kills jobs.  You replace a man with a machine, and you lose a job.  Right?

Economics is the non-common-sense knowledge that says it ain't what you think.  The machine releases the worker for other work.  And there is plenty of other work to be done.  We've seen this process right from the start of the industrial revolution.  The workers that manned the textile factories were men that had lost their livelihood on the land.  Two centuries ago, about 80 percent of workers worked in agriculture.  Now it is less than 3 percent.  Then the factories started emptying out and manufacturing jobs started to decline.  A century ago, a huge proportion of workers worked in mining, steel, and railroads.  Now almost nobody works in those basic industries.  Yet overall Americans are much more prosperous than a century ago.

So it matters that President Obama doesn't get economics.

The bigger problem is that he doesn't get that he, or the next guy, is going to be the president that reneges on all the pretty promises about government entitlements.  Someone, and it better be soon, is going to have to reverse a century of liberal politics and cut entitlements, cut subsidies, cut labor regulation, cut environmental regulation and stop trying to gun the economy with the credit system.  The problem for Democrats is that their entire political existence is built upon entitlements, subsidies, labor "gains", environment, and cheap credit.  So if President Obama does fixes the economy he loses his base.

Right now the president seems to be focusing on the need to head off a primary challenge from the left. No doubt once he is sure of the nomination he will pivot to the center.

But the problem for the president that doesn't understand economics is that when he pivots to the center there may not be anyone there.  The president has been laying down a record for the last 30 odd months, and that record is spend, tax, regulate.  The American people want jobs, jobs, jobs.  And they mean jobs in the private sector, jobs that aren't procured by crony capitalism.

Any voter that thinks that Obama will deliver on jobs in the private sector any time soon deserves what he gets.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Buffet's Secretary Betrayed

Let's accept the argument of Warren Buffet, that his secretary pays a bigger share of her income in federal taxes than he does.  Why would that be?

The reason is that his secretary pays payroll taxes and he does not, or at least not so much.

But what are these payroll taxes?  They are usually characterized not as taxes merely, but as insurance premiums on the government's social insurance schemes, programs to protect ordinary people from the vicissitudes of life: old age, sickness, and poverty.

So Warren Buffet's secretary pays a ton of money to the government so she can collect Social Security and Medicare.  Gee, it's a pity that Social Security and Medicare are bankrupt, so Warren's secretary may not get what she was promised.

But that is not all.  Warren Buffet pays a ton of taxes to the government on his secretary's behalf.  We are talking about the employer share of FICA taxes and stuff like unemployment tax and state worker's comp. (By the way Warren:  Do those business taxes count as her taxes or your taxes?)

Looked at all together these taxes paid either by Warren Buffet's secretary or by Warren himself are taxes to fund the government's social insurance programs.  The idea is that ordinary people aren't powerful enough or sensible enough to make provision for old age, for unemployment or to insure themselves against injury.  So the government must take taxes from them and their employer in order to give it back to them, less a processing fee.

Is that really true?  Are ordinary people not capable of making sensible provisions against the future?

Of course the problem is not just that the government is doing things that people could be doing on their own.  Politicians use these programs to make promises to voters.  They say: Yeah!  We are going to force employers to give you more time off when you have a baby.  They also raise the cost of doing business in a dozen different ways. All of these measures are either wages that could have been paid to the employee but have been diverted to a government program, or they just make the cost of hiring people more expensive.

Unfortunately all of these programs are rife with inefficiency and with cheating.  It's the free-rider problem, the basic problem of any society.  People scam their way onto disability programs.  Medical providers scam Medicare.  Ordinary honest people get cheated out of a portion of their contributions.

The person I feel for is Warren Buffet's secretary.  After all she's not a rich billionaire like Warren Buffet.  Whatever happens, he's got enough money to take care of himself and his family.  But the ordinary people of the middle class cannot afford to waste resources. like a rich guy.  They work because they have to, not because they are brilliant stock pickers.  They hope one day to send the kids to college and then to retire.  All the wasteful government programs they are forced to fund with their taxes make it harder to make ends meet and to achieve financial security. And the wasteful programs are supposed to help them!

One day, the ordinary middle class is going to wake up and realize that they have been betrayed.  They will realize that all the social insurance programs are social insurance in name only.  The programs are really just means by which politicians bid for votes.  The idea is to buy the votes of people by offering them material benefits.  The whole transaction is in the promise and in the vote.  If the promise actually gets enacted, if the monies actually help people, it is just an accident.  Almost certainly some special interest will get in line to get the money first, and almost certainly the money won't be there in 20, 30 years.

Almost certainly, the ordinary person would have done better to save money themselves rather than let the politicians get their hands on the money.

So the question about Warren Buffet and his secretary is upside down.  The question is not whether Warren should pay more in taxes.  The question is why his secretary is forced to pay so much.

Why should Warren Buffet's secretary be forced to contribute to so many programs that serve her so poorly?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Obama's Cunning Plan

Now that President Obama has turned sharp left with his tax-the-rich rhetoric, the question is this.

Is he crazy, or crazy like a fox?

If he's crazy like a fox it's because he and his campaign operatives see the danger of a candidate coming out of the left to challenge him.  He needs to keep the left-wing base on side until it is too late to challenge him in next winter's primaries.  On that view he would pivot to the center in mid-February and everyone would live happily ever after.

But is there a danger of a serious candidate from the left?  A candidate that will challenge America's first black president? I can't see a candidate from the left doing any more than embarrass the president. Might he not be more vulnerable on the right in his party?  Such as a Clinton candidacy?

The other possibility is that this is "Baldrick's Cunning Plan," a stupid panicky effort of the kind often proposed by Blackadder's rather slow-witted TV sidekick.

The panic notion is supported by the recent tittle-tattle book about life inside the Obama White House, Confidence Men by Ron Suskind.  It's the first solid indication of just what kind of a leader we have in the White House.  The New York Times reviewer puts it this way.
Mr. Obama emerges in this volume as an oddly passive chief executive whose modus operandi was to sketch out overarching principles, “wait until others had painted in those outlines with hard proposals” and then “step down from his above-the-fray perch to close the deal.”
If this is true then it tells us that Obama is not a "commander" personality type.  It means that he is likely to get confused and overwhelmed when the going gets rough.

When people get in a tight spot they find it difficult to think clearly and decisively.  Some people are just good at keeping their head cool in a crisis.  Most of us need training so we can overcome our fear when the bullets are whistling by our ears.  That's why the military trains its people to act on instinct.  That's why people who have studied airplane emergencies tell us that the crew always reverts to their training when the going gets tough.  Small wonder that when airlines put their pilots in the simulator they throw emergencies at them.

Now let us think about what President Obama would do in a tough spot.  He doesn't seem to be the decisive type.  And he doesn't have a lot of executive experience in dealing with tough situations.  He would revert to what he knew, his basic belief system, the tried and true.  But for President Obama the "tried and true" is the belief system of his left-wing youth and young adulthood.

We have seen peeks at his basic belief system when the president has been caught short by an unexpected question.  When Joe the Plumber asked him about taxing the rich, he talked about "spreading the wealth."  When Charles Gibson asked about higher taxes on capital gains, he talked about "fairness."

My guess is that the president is getting really overwhelmed, now that things are going seriously wrong with his presidency.  So he is instinctively going back to his training and his many years of experience on the left and in the lefty foundation world.

That stirs hopes in me of a blowout election in 2012.  We've had pretty close elections in recent years because the parties have been pretty careful not to scare the moderate horses in the middle.  But it looks like a panicked Obama might stampede those nervous moderates.

Could we have a 60-40 election in 2012?  Don't count it out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Our "Circumlocution" President

Back in the dawn of the modern era, in the middle of the 19th century, Charles Dickens nailed modern government in Little Dorrit.  Dickens invented the Circumlocution Office, staffed by the Barnacles and the Stiltstockings, and the motto of the office was "How Not To Do It."

Decades from now, I predict, professors will be using the Obama administration as an awful example of "How Not To Do It."

Of course, for liberals, the example will be how the Obama administration managed not to do it to the greedy bankers.  There's a lovely piece today from New York magazine, a dialog between Frank Rich and Adam Moss about the new White House tell-all book Confidence Men by Ron Suskind.  Their big problem with Obama is that in the chaos of conflict between Tim Geithner and Larry Summers the Obama administration failed to reform the financial system and nail the greedy bankers.  That's the liberal narrative of course, that the financial meltdown was all due to greedy bankers, and Rich and Moss are sticking to it.

For conservatives, of course, the "How Not To Do It" of the Obama administration lies in its liberal folly. It failed to realize that the financial mess required a leaning of government and an all out effort to get the economy restarted.  Instead the Obamis went with a wasteful stimulus that mainly went into the pockets of Democratic supporters, and terrified all job creators with higher costs and taxes in ObamaCare and swingeing environmental regulations.

In back of all this is the bigger question, the monstrous betrayal of the American people, the cynical pandering for votes that has left the US bankrupt and will require the reckless promises on health care and pensions to be rolled back.

Then there is the devastating indictment from Reuven Brenner on education.
In fact the much discussed increasing inequality in the U.S. and other Western countries may be, in part, explained exactly by the fact that governments subsidize so extensively high-schools and universities.  After all, the best and brightest benefit disproportionately from these subsidies.
If someone is not thrilled about math and the sciences, but is excited to repair cars, and would like to open a garage, the government doesn’t offer him a $50,000 to $100,000 subsidy.  Yet the bright kid gets just such subsidy – and more – when studying math, engineering, biology, or medicine.
The problem is not just that the liberal elite has skewed the education system by sluicing money in favor of the kind of education they want for their kids, but that the whole economy is riddled with this privilege and subsidy regime, in which the $500 million load guarantee to bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra is just the poster boy.

One fine day, the educated class has got to wake up and admit to themselves that they know nothing about the economy or education or anything else, and that their high-handed efforts to make it more fair just ends up encouraging rent seekers to lobby for favors.

I keep saying: it probably had to be like this.  The only way for everyone to realize that government is lousy at everything except simple force--keeping the peace--is to have the government try all the cool stuff, from education to pensions to health care to welfare, and then fail miserably at it.

And that is where we are at with this failed "Circumlocution" president.  We are in the middle of a great demonstration that government is always and everywhere a great Circumlocution Office, filled with place-holders like the Barnacle family, hanging on like grim death to their sinecures, and pathetically devoted to the practice of "How Not To Do It."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yes, Conservatives are Radical, Dr. Krugman

Yes, Dr. Krugman.  We conservatives are radicals.  I'm glad you noticed.  We want change at the root.  As you write in your column:
[M]odern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.
I couldn't have said it better myself.  You see, we conservatives believe that when society "acting through the government" works to mitigate the common hazards of life, it diminishes people and damages society.  We believe passionately that society should act to mitigate the common hazards of life.  We just believe these things should be done through people, not through government.

Conservatives think that the mitigation of the common hazards of life is one of the basic functions of society, but that society, that is, people working together collectively, must cooperate together to do this.

Conservatives believe that when government is deputized to do this, when these mitigations of the common hazards of life are organized by government force in government taxes and government spending then the whole of society is put at hazard.  Humans are social animals, not social slaves.

Social Security: It is common knowledge that Social Security discourages people from saving for their old age.  That's a double harm, because it makes people more dependent and it reduces the opportunities for young people created by older peoples' savings.  Now it's going broke, and betraying the people it was meant to help.

Unemployment insurance: People that receive unemployment payments don't look for work very hard.  After all, it's not their money they are spending.  And unemployment insurance costs many employers a bundle.  For instance in Washington State in construction it can go up to 6 percent.  Imagine if that money went into a personal account for the worker.  Unemployment insurance is not insurance; it is an encouragement for free-riders.

Medicare, Medicaid:  These programs are going to bust the budget, because the programs give away a lot of free services.  The only way to reform them is to get the government out of them and start to make everyone pay for routine care up front.  Anyone who, e.g., smoke cigarettes, can afford to pay a little more on their health care.

Viewed from the conservative perspective the great social programs that liberals are so proud of represent a monstrous betrayal.  After promising the moon to the workers we are now facing the fact that the promises cannot be redeemed.  Modest, ordinary people that put their faith in politicians are going to be screwed.

Imagine:  Suppose that Social Security had been a proper savings program from the start.  That means that many people of modest means would have saved a significant capital sum that they could pass on to their children.  But not with Social Security.  Suppose Medicare/Medicaid were true insurance programs with realistic deductibles and co-pays.  Why then the grannies would be ferociously shopping for the best prices and the best service.  That's a big difference from right now where they care only about the service and not about the price.  The two programs are going to eat the budget, so there will have to be cuts, and sooner rather than later.  And without the government programs that let prosperous people off the hook, then we could all work together to make sure that people that have come upon hard times "through no fault of their own" could be properly helped.

Worst of all, after the liberal politics of the last three generations we now have an entitlement society where people expect to get a ton of services for free--because it's their right.  That is not society.  That is looting.  The health of any society depends on the amount that people are prepared to put into it, not by compulsion from taxes or from forced labor, but from their own cooperative spirit.  Liberals have managed, "in the last three generations" to destroy that cooperative spirit and turn the society of voluntary association into a selfish grab-it-and-go society.

The impression we conservatives get, Dr. Krugman, is that liberals believe that big government programs equal a compassionate society.  The facts argue otherwise.  In Makers and Takers, Peter Schweizer reports that liberals, people that believe in the welfare state, are less generous at a personal level than conservatives.  And less honest.  And more angry.  In other words, liberals are less social that conservatives.  I wonder why.

If you liberals really believe that government spending equals societal compassion, Dr. Krugman, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Liberal Bigotry Problem

The lyrics from South Pacific tell it all when it comes to bigotry and hate.  Of course that was in the good old days when liberals were noble folk trying to break up the encrusted superstition and bigotry of the ages.
You've got to be taught
To hate and to fear

You've got to be carefully taught.
Yeah.  Well that was then.  This is now.  And now it is liberals that have been carefully taught to hate and to fear.  Who do they hate?  Why Christians, of course.  Not to mention Mormons.

And the fact is that the person nominated in 2012 for President of the United States by the Republican Party is likely to be either an enthusiastic Christian or a faithful Mormon.

Right now I am just finishing up a Teaching Company lecture series by a Smith College professor, Jay L. Garfield, called The Meaning of Life.  This 36 lecture series starts with the Baghavad Gita, continues with Job, Aristotle, the Stoics, Buddhism, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama.

Notice anything missing?  Yeah.  Christianity.  Not to mention Augustine and Aquinas.  How in the world could you do a lecture series on the Meaning of life without including these great Christian thinkers?  And how can you look at the modern age by just palming off capitalism with the Marxian put-down of "commodity fetishim?"

I'll tell you how.  Liberal anti-Christian bigotry.  And we are also talking about liberal anti-womanism.  Because Christianity is pre-eminently a girl religion, focusing on the perfect relationship between you and God.

Liberal anti-religious bigotry is going to lead them into the abyss in the next few years.  Liberals have systematically demolished the normal human modes of social cooperation: family, religion, God.  And they have demolished the substitutes for kin relationship like the Moose and the Elks.  People are desperate to find effective ways of social cooperation and belonging.

And  now that the liberal system has crashed with Social Security and Medicare on the block, and the Great Recession hammering blacks and the working class, the American people are looking for something better than the cold machanical system of the authoritarian welfare state and its permanent class and race war.

But what will they do when a full-on Christian is a nominee for president of the United States?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another Look into the Abyss for Dems

It's been obvious for months that Democrats are looking an an annus horribilis next year.  Their politics of privilege, their society of subsidy, their legalized looting has elected generations of Democrats to power.  But now it looks like it is collapsing, all at once.

Because the government has run out of other peoples' money.

Democrats have pressed every policy button they know, but it doesn't look like anything will change the economy for November 2012.  And why should it?  Why should business expand and hire when a gigantic tax cliff is coming in 2013, as the Wall Street Journal reminds us.

Democrats are in the same position as the Republicans in 1931.  For decades the Republicans had seduced the working man with the protective tariff, telling him that the tariff protected his wages from low-wage Europe.  But, of course, when the Progressive era Federal Reserve finance system screwed up in 1929-32 the working man got hammered.  And he returned the compliment by hammering the GOP and handing over the keys of the kingdom to the Democrats.

Now the Democrats are facing a similar fate.  For years they have promised the average working man that their Social Security, their Medicare, their unemployment and workers compensation benefits would be a solid safety net under the vicissitudes of life.  Now those promises are proving to be empty. It's not just that Social Security and Medicare are broke.  The problem is that all these benefits hit the economy as taxes on jobs, the payroll taxes that mostly get paid by employers and that make them hesitate before hiring.

Yeah!  We'll make sure those stingy employers pay for your benefits!  That's what Democrats have told the workers.  And it's all a lie.  The workers would have done better by saving their own money and buying their own insurance.  Because you know what?  If they had, then all that money their employer  paid in taxes would be their own money, saved in bank accounts and mutual funds and life and disability insurance.

Well, after the special elections on Tuesday, all Democrats now know they are in trouble.  Unfortunately for them the US is out of smoke and mirrors.  We'll have to get out of trouble the hard way, with work and saving, and cuts to wasteful government programs.  There is no other way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Taxing "Millionaires and Billionaires"

Now that President Obama has actually come out with a proposal for taxing "millionaires and billionaires" we can get a handle of his proposal.  Just how much does he propose to tax those folks who are already at the point where average citizens may ask how much more do they need.

According Carol E. Lee and Janet Hook in the The Wall Street Journal the president's proposal to phase out deductions for those earning more than a taxable income of $250,000 a year expects to collect $400 billion over ten years.

According to the SOI Table 5 (xls) IRS analysis of individual income tax returns, the floor of the top one percent of taxpayers is around $200,000.  It's been going down recently, of course, due to the Great Recession.  In 2007 to 2009 the Feds collected about $400 billion each year from the top one percent.  So the Obama tax increase on millionaires and billionaires, $400 billion over ten years, is going to increase the federal income tax bill on the millionaires and billionaires by about ten percent.  The increase is not nothing, and it's not outrageously punitive.

Problem is, of course, that the millionaires and billionaires in question are exactly the people we are counting on to start hiring at some point in the future when they have got off their capital strike.  So ramping up their taxes can't really help in the jobs department.

Here's what I think.  I think that the Republican House should pass the president's tax increase on millionaires and billionaires.  I think they should say: here Mr. President.  Here is what you want.  Tax the rich.  See how many jobs it creates.

Tax-the-rich is pure left-wing politics.  It's required for lefties because the left has to believe that it is a lack of tax payments from the rich that is keeping the poor poor.  If you don't believe that, and you don't believe that corporations are screwing the workers and the consumers then you don't have a reason to pass swingeing legislation to tax and regulate and crush those evil capitalists and their partners in crime, millionaires and billionaires.

You'd just think that, wow, in the last two hundred years under the reign of the corporations daily income has gone from about $3 to $100 in constant dollars.  Somebody was doing something right.

The truth is that left-wing politics is "living by looting" in exactly the same way as the "barons of the crags" once lived by looting the travelers on the alpine passes.  The problem is, of course, that when you live by looting instead of working to make products and services for other people, it turns you into a monster.  Thus it turns out, according to Peter Schweizer's Makers and Takers,  that liberals are meaner and less honest than conservatives.  Looting for a living does that to you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/12 Plus 10

I've found myself unwilling to do a 9/11 retrospective.  I suppose that's because, for me, conflict is conflict, war is war.  9/11 was not so much an outrage as a marker.

There is--there has always been--violent disagreement about what the world is and what the world should be.  And this disagreement is usually conducted by young hot-heads.  In our day these hot-heads are the sons of the educated elite.  Thus it was that the 9/11 terrorists were mostly the sons of well-to-do Saudis.

Today the world is divided.  It is divided mostly between those that are trying to understand the meaning of the industrial revolution and those trying to oppose the industrial revolution.  Some people say: there has been a profound revolution in the way that the human race lives its life, due to the scientific and energy revolutions.  We need to discover how to live our lives in recognition of that fact.  There are others, and many of them live in the West, who say that industrialism, capitalism, and prosperity have combined to divorce humans from their humanness and from God, and that only a violent turn away from democratic capitalism can save us.

In my view, the present democratic capitalism based upon Judeo-Christian culture is the best thing going.  Every effort in the last two hundred years to attack it or to substantially restructure it has been a bloody failure.  The great religious movements of socialism, communism, and fascism failed after monstrous religious wars and outrages.  Now we are in the middle of another religious movement, the Islamic reaction against Judeo-Christian democratic capitalism.

The immediate reaction of the United States government after 9/11 was to ramp up its security apparatus, both foreign and domestic, and we can see now that the results were mixed.  At home the government has erected a huge bumbling inspection regime that has humiliated the American people in dozens of ways. Abroad the government has found that wars against Islamist-harboring thug dictators is a lot more complicated than anyone would want.

Domestically, the government seems to think that the only way to protect the American people is to herd them around like cattle.  Abroad it has found that military force leaves a horrible political vacuum in its wake.  These failures of post 9/11 US policy are not scandalous.  All government action is drenched in failure.  But there seems to be an important lesson that the US government is slow to learn.

Humans are not cattle.  Americans showed, from the first moments after the first plane exploded on the World Trade Center, that they are capable and resourceful in responding to the terror threat.  The passengers on Flight 93 understood, from communications with the ground, that they had to stop the flight and they did, sacrificing their lives in the process.  They ended the "airplane hijack" era in which hijackers were the actors and passengers were the non-actors.  IT was passengers that subdued the underpants bomber.  Government policy must pivot to encourage and respect the abilities of the resourceful American people.

In military operations it is clear that military questions cannot be divorced from political questions.  And beyond both is the battle of ideas.  We westerners must politely but firmly assert our ideas and values against the ideas and values of the Islamic extremists.  And that means everyone, from the pope on down.

The result of the great battle between democratic capitalism and socialism has now been won.  The two great cultures of India and China were initially seduced by the socialists, the revolutionary communists in China and the democratic socialists in India.  In the years since each country abandoned socialism their peoples have vaulted into the democratic capitalist world with an energy that leaves the rest of the world breathless.

The same will doubtless be true when the peoples of Islam abandon their fight against democratic capitalism.  We may hope that in doing so they will bring a critique to democratic capitalism that will improve it.

But meanwhile the West must oppose the forces that wish to demolish our democratic capitalism.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Another Laundry List

Man and boy, I've been watching presidents stand at the rostrum of the House of Representatives for about 40 years.  And I'm getting a bit tired of it.  Why is it considered statesmanlike to go through yet another a laundry list of warmed over government programs and imagine that this contributes to national welfare?

Here we had President Obama, sucking empty on the sine qua non of any presidency: a healthy economy.  And what does he come up with?  More subsidies.  More spending.  More urgency.

The astonishing thing about his speech on Thursday evening to a joint session of Congress is what he did not do.  He did not act to relieve the huge costs that government places upon the private sector, the chunk that government takes of every paycheck, of every product sold, of every service delivered.  That is what is killing the economy.  Reality finally caught up with the progressive game that worked so well for so long.  You impose enormous costs upon producers and consumers, distributing favors to your supporters with the proceeds, and then take the credit for prosperity and growth.

Maybe the progressive game still works in normal times.  But not after a teeth-rattling financial meltdown.

Yes, Virginia, it's true that government is indispensable to a healthy economy.  But its role is stage-setting, providing the property laws, the stable financial basis platform which players in the game of capitalism can rely.

President Obama is still going full bore on his progressive agenda, shoveling out money at Democratic constituencies.  His speech was no pivot, but more of the same, throwing good money after bad.  It's a measure of the impossible position he's in.  He can't do the things he ought to do: reverse ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, anti-energy regulation.  Because if he did that he'd lose his Democratic base.  Why?  The support for these programs among Democrats is not practical and empirical.  It is religious.

In a sad way, Republicans and conservatives can take comfort from the president's speech.  Here we are, two and a half years into his term of office, with failures littered all over the political landscape, and he still doesn't get it.  It makes you confident about the results of November 2012.

I am starting to believe in a 55-45 America:  A 55-45 percent Republican presidential popular vote, a 55-45 Republican Senate, and a 55-45 percent Republican House.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Will Liberals "Go Off the Deep End?"

Over at the American Spectator the "Green Lantern" worries that liberals will go off the deep end if their Obama loses next year.
Environmentalists, now embarrassed about being arrested in front of the White House for opposing their favorite President's policies, will be right back where they want to be -- throwing their bodies at the juggernaut of the American economy. Young fanatics will be blowing up pipelines and power plants because they are unable persuade 300 million Americans to give up prosperity and live on wind and sunshine.
Really?  I don't think so.  It's true that leadership Democrats successfully prodded their liberal rank-and-file to protest the whisker-thin victory of George W. Bush in 2000, so that liberals spent eight years in a fantasy-land of "Selected, not Elected", Bushitler and Darth Vader Cheney.

Yes, it's true that liberals have mostly "continue[d] to prosper while moving rapidly toward the angry left." over the past decade. It's true that they all vomit out standard Democratic talking points: the Tea Party is "crazy"; Gov. Walker (R-WI) is "insane"; the president's troubles are all due to "racism". But that's why we have elections.

I recall back a few years ago when the Religious Right got up an initiative to limit abortion in Washington State. It went down 25-75. That was the end of social-conservative politics in the Soviet of Washington. It's amazing what an election will do.  If Obama goes down 45-55 in November 2012 it will have a similar effect on liberals, Oh sure, they will snap at you about the asininity of President Perry/Romney, whoever. But they will be cowed. They will be beaten. They won't be staging stupid terrorist tricks, because they will have read the election returns. They may say that the American people are racists or mentally ill. People say things like that, to keep up their spirits. But they will know they are beaten.

In my view, the presidency of Barack Obama is the best thing that could have happened to conservatism. Liberals got to do everything they had ever wanted. They passed the Holy Grail of universal health care. They passed their trillion-dollar Keynesian stimulus. They whacked Wall Street with swingeing new regulation. They flooded the nation with windmills and very fast trains.

And the whole thing flushed down the toilet. ObamaCare is a disaster. The stimulus came and went. Dodd-Frank ended up entrenching "Too Big to Fail" and President Obama is backtracking on draconian EPA regulations.

Don't forget how this all appears to liberals. They thought that with intelligent people, finally, in charge, the nation would turn around from the incompetent Bush years. Teach those greedy bankers a lesson, give the economy a shot of sponduliks, and here we go for reelection. They cannot believe that it has all gone wrong.

But they will. And come 2013, after the liberal annus horribilis, liberals will be sadder and wiser. And a lot less cocky.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CLOUDs in the Cloud Chamber

The Wall Street Journal's reporter Anne Jolis puts it so innocently.  The physicist folks at CERN finally got around to testing the theory of Henrik Svensmark, that cosmic rays (charged particles entering the earth's atmosphere) "seed" clouds by creating cloud pre-nuclei as they speed through the atmosphere.
At the Franco-Swiss home of the world's most powerful particle accelerator, scientists have been shooting simulated cosmic rays into a cloud chamber to isolate and measure their contribution to cloud formation.
Do tell.  So, after half a century of particle accelerator chappies using cloud chambers to track high- energy charged particles we have to test whether charged particles entering the atmosphere leave tracks of visible moisture?  You mean charged particles out in the atmosphere behave just like they do in cloud chambers?  Golly, those physicists are smart.

CERN has notoriously taken over a decade to run this experiment.  You can understand why.  Confirmation of Svensmark's hypothesis means that climate is driven in large part by the solar cycle.  When there are few sunspots, we know, more cosmic rays penetrate to the atmosphere.  So if cosmic rays seed cloud formation and clouds reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth, why, maybe the Little Ice Age, coinciding with a major solar minimum, was caused by excessive cloud formation from cosmic rays.  Better soft-pedal that one.  We government-funded physicists wouldn't want to tread on the gravy train of our government-funded climate scientist friends.

It looks like the whole climate-change hysteria is reaching the end game.  That's why the climate scientists reacted hysterically to the recent Spencer-Braswell article on cloud feedback.  Just as well, really.  We could use the money to repair the government's balance sheet.

I wonder what the liberals and the environmentalists will come up with next.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

When Liberals are the Oppressors

Liberal ideas were developed in the good old days when landowners, slave owners, and business owners were the bad guys.  So liberals developed the notions of protest, civil disobedience, and passive resistance as the means by which the oppressed, assisted by their educated allies, could register their protest against injustice, expose the hypocrisies of the powerful, and win through to a just society.

But now a new justice movement has emerged onto the political radar.  Only this time it is not a liberal movement, enthusiastically supported by our liberal friends.  Instead this movement, the Tea Party movement, is anti-liberal.  It has arisen to oppose the injustices of liberalism.

As you might expect, our liberal friends are not reacting very well.  Protest, civil disobedience, mass meetings are one thing when they are used for a progressive purpose.  When used by conservatives--even conservative religious women--liberals talk of "incivility", of "terrorism", of racism, and worse.

Over the last week we have seen a ton of bad behavior from liberals on this matter.  Exhibit A is probably the head of the Teamsters union, Jimmy Hoffa, who introduced the President of the United States by calling workers everywhere to a war on the Tea Party.
Let's take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,
 Hey, we all like to throw out red meat to our supporters.  But using war metaphors is considered inappropriate for Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.  So why is it OK for a labor union leader?

Then there's the remarks of Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting.
Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now with this tea party movement would love to see you and me — I’m sorry, Tamron — hanging on a tree.
Mike Adams, a professor of criminology, is a practiced provocateur.  His latest wheeze is to exploit the new federal edict on sexual harassment, requiring vigorous prosecution on campus using a "preponderance of the evidence" standard.  So, writes Adams, that means that when an impressionable young woman hears her lefty professor refer to Tea Party members as "tea-baggers," a reference to oral sex, that young woman is clearly being sexually harassed.
Obviously, when a male political science professor dismisses a female supporter of the Tea Party as one who enjoys oral sex, he has offended her. And that falls squarely within the university definition of sexual harassment.
Adams wants this followed up.  For either we will get rid of a bunch of obnoxious lefty professors or our liberal friends will suddenly discover that a higher standard of proof is needed in sexual harassment cases.

Nothing here is all that remarkable.  It's what you expect from a ruling dynasty when it loses the Mandate of Heaven and finds that the peasants are restless.   Agitators! Traitors! Murderers!

Right now I am listening to a grand liberal apology on audio from The Great Courses, The Meaning of Life, by Prof. Jay Garfield of Smith College.  We've just got to Gandhi and his non-violent protest against British racism and colonialism.  In the rehearsal of Gandhi's life Garfield talks about how the British divided the Indians, religion against religion, caste against caste, even extending to dividing Bengal in 1905.  Government should not divide people like that.  "Government could not be an institution that allows some people to benefit and others to suffer."

The Greek philosopher George Maroustos once said that you can't tell how good a dog is when it's out hunting.  You can only tell when it's being hunted.  The measure of liberalism will be how it deals with political and moral adversity, when it is challenged to live up to its values by forces with which it disagrees.

Things are not looking good right now, as liberals find that they are being hunted.  Liberals are responding to their troubles badly.  My guess is that we ain't seen nothing yet.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Healthcare From the Trenches

I recently talked with a physician from south New Jersey.  He thoughtfully enlightened me on a couple of healthcare talking points.

The 30 million uninsured
A while back, says my friend, a woman physician in south Jersey got a grant to start a clinic that would exclusively serve the uninsured.  He helped her getting started with office space in his own clinic.  The clinic for the uninsured closed after a couple of years due to lack of business.  The truth is that when an uninsured person gets sick they can probably sign up for Medicaid on the spot.  So why bother getting insured?  An elderly acquaintance from Peru, wife of a retired Lima physician, reports that when she gets health care in the US she never has to pay.  Now why would that be?

Those Medicaid reimbursement rates
How, I have wondered, given that Medicaid reimbursement rates are notoriously low and Medicaid patients have trouble getting physicians to see them, do Medicaid patients get their health care?  My friend told me.  In south Jersey they have recently set up a federal funded chain of clinics to serve the Medicaid folks.  How do the clinics get paid, I wondered?  They get paid through the usual reimbursement schedules, just like the private docs.  But, of course, they also get federal funding.  Nice gig if you can get it.

Entitlement mentality
The wife of a friend of mine here in Seattle works in University Hospital and complains that Medicaid patients tend to move in, and often only get discharged after a couple of weeks when the Medicaid coordinator puts an end to their shenanigans.  Regular patients with private insurance are whisked in and out in a couple of days.  My south Jersey friend has similar experiences.  He gets Medicaid recipients that come in and say: Give me the works, doc: MRIs, CAT scans, the whole enchilada!  Whatever happened to the grateful poor?

Maybe we should all be outraged by this corruption of the entitlement state.  But I am not.  It is perfectly obvious to me that any entitlement program or indeed any government program of any kind is bound to be riddled with waste, fraud, and abuse.  Government programs are not responding to human need; we have a market economy for that.  Government programs are projections of political power:  We are doing this because we have the power to do it.  In the end all government programs regress into a simple scramble for loot.  But at least when Boss Tweed looted the City of New York the city gotuilt a magnificent marble City Hall for their trouble.  The monument to our corrupt liberal welfare state will just be the broken lives and gigantic debt it left behind.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Democrats Losing It

Back in the 2000s leadership Democrats encouraged their rank and file in a lot of smash mouth partisanship. It worked, up to a point, in delegitimizing President Bush and setting up their 2006 capture of Congress and 2008 capture of the presidency.

But the smash-mouth tactics doesn't work so good when your guy is in the White House. That's because while vigorous opposition is a necessary safety valve for the loyal opposition, vigorous attacks on the opposition are another matter. It makes you look like fascist thugs.

Thus, for Cenk Uygur to complain about the president's treatment by Speaker Boehner over his upcoming address to a joint session of Congress is foolish and ignorant.
President Obama has now changed the day of his address to Congress to accommodate the Republicans. They were having a GOP presidential debate on the original date he picked. So, Boehner told him to move his speech. He is the president for Christ's sake. Of course, they should have accommodated him, not the other way around. But as usual, President Obama bowed.
Er, well, no. The president doesn't have the power to order up a joint session of Congress. Congress gets to decide that. That's the whole point of a divided government and a separation of powers.

Then there are the cute "theocracy" attacks on the Republicans. This is a recurring tactic of Democrats; they must think it works a treat. They take the statements of Republican politicians that their religious beliefs inform their politics and inflate them into a secret plan to legislate morality. This is actually part of the whole "Democrats are pro-science" and "Republicans are anti-science" meme. It shows an astonishing ignorance in Democrats for not realizing that their progressive beliefs are in fact religious and not scientific. Everybody brings their religious beliefs to politics; it's just that Democrats bring their secular religious beliefs in socialism and progressivism and statism to the table.

Here is the Washington Post's liberal Chris Cillizza acting dumb about the whole issue.

But here is my prediction. All the smash-mouth tactics being ginned up by the Obama guys are going to fail. The American people don't care about church-state issues this year. They don't care about Speaker Boehner playing footsie with the president. They just want someone to fix this lousy economy. And because President Obama is the president they figure that he's to blame.